June 01, 2012
05:30 PM EDT
Here's a quick glimpse at this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
The Nation’s Heroes: This Monday the President, Vice President, First Lady, and Dr. Biden traveled to the Arlington National Cemetery where the President laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. He then spoke to the families gathered there, asking that we remember the fallen soldiers for the people they really were, “One thing we can do is remember these heroes as you remember them -- not just as a rank, or a number, or a name on a headstone, but as Americans, often far too young, who were guided by a deep and abiding love for their families, for each other, and for this country.”
The President then made his way to the Vietnam Veterans memorial to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. There he spoke of the service that the veterans undertook for America, both in war and once they returned home, “Like generations before you, you took off the uniform, but you never stopped serving. You became teachers and police officers and nurses -- the folks we count on every single day. You became entrepreneurs, running companies and pioneering industries that changed the world. You became leaders and public servants, from town halls to Capitol Hill -- lifting up our communities, our states, our nation. You reminded us what it was like to serve, what it meant to serve. “
Extraordinary People: On Tuesday the President awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to 13 extraordinary individuals. These people came from all walks in life, ranging from a doctor to a musician, the President said that each has made his or her mark on America, “Together, the honorees on this stage, and the ones who couldn’t be here, have moved us with their words; they have inspired us with their actions. They’ve enriched our lives and they’ve changed our lives for the better. Some of them are household names; others have labored quietly out of the public eye. Most of them may never fully appreciate the difference they’ve made or the influence that they’ve had, but that’s where our job comes in.”
Matt ComptonJune 01, 2012
04:31 PM EDT
In Minnesota today, President Obama was introduced by Ryan Sullivan -- a Navy veteran who served in Iraq and Yemen. When he was discharged, Sullivan got an education in electrical maintenance and construction, then went to work for Honeywell.
The President wants to make sure that all those returning from war find good jobs, just like Ryan Sullivan. That's why he's proposed the Veterans Jobs Corps, with a goal of putting 20,000 servicemembers to work rebuilding American infrastructure and serving as cops and firefighters.
He told the crowd in Golden Valley:
[Now] that the war in Iraq is over and we’re starting to wind down the war in Afghanistan over a million more of those outstanding heroes, they're going to be joining this process of transition back into civilian life over the next few years.
Now, just think about the skills these veterans have acquired at an incredibly young age. Think about the leadership they’ve learned -- 25-year-olds, 26-year-olds leading platoons into unbelievably dangerous situations, life-or-death situations. Think about the cutting-edge technologies they’ve mastered; their ability to adapt to changing and unpredictable situations -- you can’t get that stuff from a classroom.
I mean, these kids, these men, these women, they’ve done incredible work, and that's exactly the kind of leadership and responsibility that every business in America should be wanting to attract, should be competing to attract.
The President called on lawmakers to pass legislation making the Veterans Jobs Corps a reality -- part of his To-Do List for Congress.
Learn more about the actions that President Obama is asking Congress to take here.
Valerie JarrettJune 01, 2012
03:02 PM EDT
The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression didn’t develop overnight, and it won’t be solved overnight. But while we have a long way to go, over the past 27 months, American companies have added more than 4.3 million jobs. Behind that number are countless small businesses – entrepreneurs with bold ideas and a willingness to dream big.
President Obama knows that small business owners are the engines of our economy. That’s why he has signed 18 new small business tax cuts into law. As our country continues to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, we must continue to support and celebrate America’s job creators.
That’s why StartUp America, the Council on Women and Girls and the White House Business Council have put together an interactive tool to introduce you to some of the women entrepreneurs who are helping our country succeed. Some of these small business owners are on the cutting edge of social media, advanced manufacturing and biotechnology. Others have opened traditional “main street” establishments, such as stores and restaurants. All of them have created jobs, and made their communities better places to work and live.
June 01, 2012
02:09 PM EDT
For the third consecutive year, special items from the Library of Congress’ Jewish American collections have been put on display at the White House. In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, President Barack Obama hosted a reception at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on Wednesday evening.
“Generations of Jewish Americans have brought to bear some of our country’s greatest achievements and forever enriched our national life,” he said in his official proclamation. “Our country is stronger for their contributions, and this month, we commemorate the myriad ways they have enriched the American experience.”
Colleen CurtisJune 01, 2012
12:53 PM EDT
It's 2012, but did you know that women are still paid less than men?
On average, full-time working women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, a wage gap that exists regardless of personal choices like education or occupation. Over the course of her career, a woman with a college degree will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who does the same work.
This substantial gap is more than a statistic -- it has real life consequences. When women, who make up nearly half the workforce, bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families, and over a lifetime of work, far less savings for retirement.
President Obama supports passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Congress puts to a vote on June 5. This comprehensive and commonsense bill updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work.
We’ve created some ecards that you can send via email or share on social media with reasons equal pay for equal work is essential. Pick your favorite, or send them all!
Craig FugateJune 01, 2012
11:04 AM EDT
Today marks the start of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Under the direction of President Obama, FEMA and DHS stand ready to support our state and local partners as the tropics start to produce their annual cyclones, storms, and hurricanes. On Wednesday, I joined Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano as well as partners from NOAA, DOE, the Army Corps of Engineers, and representatives from states and the private sector to brief the President on steps FEMA and our partners have already taken to meet the challenges of the 2012 hurricanes season. That briefing underscored the importance of the whole community, from the federal government to individual citizens, working together to get prepared before a potential storm threatens a region, state, or community.
Long before the start of this year’s hurricane season, FEMA has worked closely with our partners at the state, local and tribal levels. This includes openly sharing information and expertise that will improve resiliency across our nation, cities, towns, neighborhoods, and families. For FEMA, building relationships before a disaster strikes is vital to working closely together during and after an emergency situation.
Alan KruegerJune 01, 2012
09:34 AM EDT
Problems in the job market were long in the making and will not be solved overnight. The economy lost jobs for 25 straight months beginning in February 2008, and over 8 million jobs were lost as a result of the Great Recession. We are still fighting back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Today we learned that the economy has added private sector jobs for 27 straight months, for a total of 4.3 million payroll jobs over that period. The economy is growing but it is not growing fast enough. BLS’s establishment survey shows that private businesses added 82,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 69,000. The unemployment rate ticked up from 8.1 percent in April to 8.2 percent in May, according to BLS’s household survey. However, the labor force participation rate increased 0.2 percentage point to 63.8 percent, and employment rose by 422,000 according to the household survey.
There is much more work that remains to be done to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis and deep recession that began at the end of 2007. Just like last year at this time, our economy is facing serious headwinds, including the crisis in Europe and a spike in gas prices that hit American families’ finances over the past months. It is critical that we continue the President’s economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession.
In the American Jobs Act and in the State of the Union Address, the President put forward a number of proposals to create jobs and strengthen the economy, including proposals that would put teachers back in the classroom and cops on the beat, and put our nation’s construction workers back on the job rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. The President has also proposed a “To-Do List” of actions that Congress should take to create jobs and help restore middle-class security. This includes eliminating tax incentives to ship jobs overseas, cutting red tape so responsible homeowners can refinance, giving small businesses that increase employment or wages a 10 percent income tax credit, investing in affordable clean energy, and helping returning veterans find work. The President is in Minneapolis today to announce a new executive action that will establish private sector partnerships to help military service members acquire recognized occupational credentials—as welders, as machinists, and ultimately in a broader range of occupations. These partnerships will help service members find private sector jobs once they leave the military, and they will help firms in manufacturing and other industries that need workers to fill their vacant positions.
Manufacturing employment continues to expand and manufacturers added 12,000 jobs in May. After losing millions of good manufacturing jobs in the years before and during the recession, the economy has added 495,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2010--the strongest growth for any 28-month period since April 1995. To continue the revival in manufacturing jobs and output, the President has proposed tax incentives for manufacturers, enhanced training for the workforce, and measures to create manufacturing hubs and encourage the growing trend of insourcing.
Other sectors with net job increases included education and health services (+46,000), transportation and warehousing (+35,600), wholesale trade (+15,900), and temporary help services (+9,200). Construction lost 28,000 jobs, accounting services lost 14,000 jobs, government lost 13,000 jobs, and leisure and hospitality lost 9,000 jobs. State and local governments shed 8,000 jobs, mostly in education.
As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.
Matt ComptonJune 01, 2012
12:00 AM EDT
This week, the President honored Memorial Day and the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, signed bipartisan legislation reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, and welcomed Former President Bush and Former First Lady Laura Bush for the official unveiling of their portraits.
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A unique view of 2012